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Techni-modul Engineering introduces intelligent automation for the preform process

Driven by technological innovations and new applications, the composite market is expected to show growth worldwide in the foreseeable future. The use of composite materials in the transportation industry increases due to the advantages over metals in reduced weight, higher specific strength, specific stiffness, increased service life and overall design flexibility. As a result, advanced composite materials are used extensively in both secondary and primary structures of commercial and military aircraft. Automotive, commercial vehicles and rail industries have also employed composites in many areas to take advantage of the performance advantages of these materials. 

The Aerospace OEMs are recognizing they have to change the way they build aircraft to accommodate a pace of production ahead that's never been seen before. In order to achieve the production rates corresponding to the foreseen ramp-up, the production process has to be totally re-examined. With this growth the demand comes for improvements of manufacturing technologies. Techni-modul Engineering aims to be at the forefront of innovation and recently improved the existing preform stages for composites by introducing intelligent automation to the preform process.

The most common manufacturing technology for composites used today involves manual stacking of carbon fiber sheets of material, followed by curing in an autoclave, oven or press. The development of an innovative technology for the automated fabrication of complex preforms had to meet the increased market demand and face the challenge of improving the quality, repeatability and accuracy while reducing the final price per part cost.

With their deep-rooted experience Techni-Modul Engineering has developed a new kind of automated manufacturing solution that responds to these expectations by ensuring the same quality every time a component is built and therefore brings value to the composite market. A manual approach for cutting, positioning and forming of fabric layers to make a preform will not have the same repeatability as the robot. The manual operation is prone to mistakes or defects. The latest generation of robots on the market are able to cut, pick and place but, in addition, Techni-Modul has introduced a robotized preform cell able to control the good positioning of each ply as well as its fibre orientation. So the robot cell provides supervisory functionality as well as production functionality.

The introduction and functioning of the robotized preform cell will be demonstrated and explained upon inscription during the TME's innovation days that will take place on November 17, 18 or 19 at their headquarters in Coudes, France. A RTM I-beam component will then be preformed by the cell without the operator touching or positioning the fibres. Moreover, the supervisory functionality will be shown. Two varieties of these cells are imagined: flexible and dedicated. The flexible cell can be adapted to different kind of composite components to be preformed in order to optimize investment. The dedicated cells are based on the concept of one cell for one shape.

With its additional cells for preform insertion, moulding, injection, demoulding, mould cleaning and finishing operations, Techni-Modul Engineering offers custom-tailored solutions for fully or semi-automated composite manufacturing lines for small quantities or high volume production and delivers clients worldwide.

Press release issued by Techni-Modul Engineering on September 17, 2015


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Techni-Modul Engineering Injection Moulding, Tooling, Vacuum Processes


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